Student Life

Fall 2019

AJ Wray (BES ‘18) advocates the importance of giving back to the St. Paul’s community

AJ Wray headshotAlexander (AJ) Wray remembers being “hooked” on St. Paul’s from the moment he toured the residence, even before he became a resident through the Environment Living and Learning Community in 2013.

For AJ, the Affiliated College model was a perfect fit. St. Paul’s enabled him to participate in community life while supporting his academic endeavors financially by working as a Don. The College was a place where he learned “soft skills”, and developed life-long friendships while building networks and life experiences.

AJ was an active contributor to the St. Paul’s residence community from day one. He began participating in Residence Life in 2013, became a Don in 2015, acted as a peer leader while living off campus in 2016, returned again to don in his final year (2017/2018), and recently became a young alumni donor this past year!

Now in his first semester at the University of Western Ontario pursuing a Master’s degree in Geography, a conversation with colleagues about preparing students to be “leaders, thinkers, and generally good citizens” inspired AJ to give back to St. Paul’s. AJ recounted his experiences at St. Paul’s as a Don and thought about how the unique student leadership opportunities available to undergraduate students helped pave his path to academic success.

AJ says “when I think of my own peer group, the folks who affiliated with one of the Waterloo colleges have been wildly successful after graduating and are doing some really cool things around the globe!” After his personal reflection, AJ knew he should be giving back, even in a small way, to support the College in making sure others can have a similar experience to his own. 

AJ Wray and John Capell pose together on a golf course

AJ currently supports St. Paul’s with a small gift of $10/month and hopes to inspire others to give “micro-donations” because even a little bit can go a long way in helping fund the St. Paul’s community. AJ encourages young alumni to think about the impact they could have by giving just $10/month. As he explains: “just think of the impact 10 alumni could have by giving $10/month each. That's $1200 a year to support residence life from 10 people skipping a coffee once a week!”

AJ’s vision is a College community that not only  provides an exceptional experience for residents, but one in which any Waterloo student seeking a small community can affiliate with the College and take part in activities throughout their time on campus.

We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for AJ!

Jenna Phillips receives $500 from Student Project Fund

Jenna Phillips

Jenna Phillips is a third year Environment, Resources and Sustainability student who lived at St. Paul's in 2017-18 and served as the undergraduate student representative on the Board of Governors. She remains an actively engaged student on campus and within the St. Paul's community and still manages to find time for her side project: blogging about sustainability and environmental action.

Just prior to arriving at St. Paul's for her first year, Jenna began blogging about her own experience of trying to live sustainably while pursuing a university degree and she called it Jenna's Journey. She enjoyed documenting her own experiences but realized that she could also use her platform to help educate others on how to make more sustainable choices. To that end, she recently applied for and was the successful recipient of $500 from the St. Paul's student project fund. 

Her goal is to build an online platform for Clear The Air (formerly Jenna's Journey) to engage with youth across Canada on the issues of environmental sustainability. What was once a hobby has now become a true passion project and Jenna thinks it could be something she devotes herself to full time in the future.

Jenna says she will use some of the funds to start a podcast (already in the works), to develop an e-book with an associated audiobook, for her online community. The overall goal is to provide youth with a balanced understanding of climate change and other environmental issues by providing access to clear, concise explanations of complex issues. She intends to also focus on providing youth with the information they need to change their individual habits and to be advocates for policy change. 

Don team organizes St. Paul's Community Fun Fair

In early September, the Don team organized the first annual St. Paul's Fun Fair and invited students, staff, faculty and other members of the St. Paul's community to join them on the green for an afternoon of fun and games. The weather didn't cooperate but they still managed to pull it off with indoor activities happening throughout the college. The photos below are proof that the fair was indeed fun.

Matthew standing outside Alumni Hall

Daniel stands beside a Plinko game

students compete on a giant inflatable

student slides down inflatable obstacle course

jenny gets pied in the face

Follow AJ's lead and set up a monthly gift to the Residence Life Experience Fund and you can help future students like Jenna through the Student Project Fund or provide some of the funds the Don team need to hold community building events like the Fun Fair.